Technical article published in issue 250 of Frisona Espaola magazine
Although we perhaps should have asked this question in our previous article, the first in this series on heat stress (CE), why are cows more heat stressed today than we were 30-40 years ago? Or maybe it wasn’t talked about before? It is obvious that the current cows produce much more heat due to their greater weight and size, their greater productivity and therefore their high consumption. We can say that they are authentic “stoves” (Figure 1). And it’s also obvious that they seem to have more difficulty eliminating heat, also for a variety of reasons:
- A large part of the production of dairy products, precisely that with the highest productivity, is concentrated in the hot regions of the planet (southern USA, Israel). Also in Spain there is high milk production in areas with high temperatures.
- The hot seasons seem to last longer, cover large areas of the territory and are more intense. As of this writing, the second heat wave of this summer is in full swing (Figure 2).
- Shelters are not always well designed, sized and managed (Figure 3).
Therefore, it is necessary to equip yourself with some tools to combat CE. The first of these is to know what we are measuring. The development of indices for animals of zootechnical interest in general and for dairy cattle in particular aims to provide a decision-making tool. Indeed, management is based on the ability to analyze parameters that can be measured or counted, and based on the values that these parameters take, to act accordingly or prevent to avoid undesirable situations. For this reason, the analysis and assessment of heat stress must be based on numbers resulting from measurements, and this is what we will deal with in this work.
As already mentioned in a previous article (Spanish Friesian No. 249), dairy cows prefer thermal values between 0 and 24 ºC, being able to maintain their production even at temperatures of -10 ºC. However, these animals begin to experience heat stress at a temperature of 25°C, with normal levels of relative humidity.
If you want to read the whole article, you can download it from this link or also from “Documents”.
Technical article published by Antonio Callejo Ramos in issue 250 of Frisona Espaola magazine.
All articles this animal welfare series:
– Humane treatment of dairy farms (I): Concept of humane treatment
– Welfare on dairy cattle farms (II): stress
– Humane treatment of dairy farms (III): Humane treatment assessment (1)
– Humane treatment of dairy farms (IV): Evaluation of humane treatment (2)
– Dairy Farm Welfare (V): Humane Treatment Assessment (3)
– Humane treatment of dairy farms (VI): Evaluation of humane treatment (and 4)
– Welfare on Dairy Cattle Farms (VII): Heat Stress (1)
– Welfare on Dairy Cattle Farms (VIII): Heat Stress (2): Evaluation
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